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When Brand Advocacy Gets in the Way

Yesterday I was one of two creative leap speakers at the edulounge sponsored by Classflow (Promethean).

The event itself appealed to me because it was a day to celebrate educators…our stories and contributions. It appealed to me before I even knew that Promethean sponsored it and yet I still participated.

How would sharing our story…Braeden’s story…hurt?

See, I am a SMART exemplary educator, which I have been for years. SMART & Promethean are direct competitors in terms of IWB and software. I still stand by SMART notebook as the standard in terms of interactive software….period.

The thing is…I didn’t even care or consider who the sponsor was when I signed up. I did it because of the opportunity to share. I did it because the event itself spoke to the core of who I am…an educator.

Yesterday, as I was driving away…happily basking in the glow of my accomplishment (public speaking), I was immediately brought back down to earth by words that in essence stated that I damaged my “brand”, was being an “opportunist” and basically should have steered clear of that “competitor sponsored” event.

I’ve never felt more hurt in my life.

To be clear…a google certified teacher can be an apple distinguished educator…and vice versa. Honors and advocacy sometimes overlap. However, a SMART exemplary educator & whatever the heck Promethean teachers are…cannot.

(Interesting that the edulounge keynote was sought after last year at ISTE to be in the vicinity of the SMART showcase room…invited to an event that none of us were…other than Erin Klein(also a SEE) who was also tweeting tidbits from this same event…but that’s ok because at least she wasn’t in the room)

Yet, I can’t speak because Promethean’s name is on the wall?

I wasn’t at the edulounge to be a brand advocate. I was there to tell a story and by all accounts, I did that with fidelity and honor.

I am not employed by SMART nor am I under any kind of contract. I am a part of a community of teachers and I’ve enjoyed connecting with them over the years. Today, I was basically told that maybe I’ve outgrown this group.

Interesting.

I stand behind my decision to share our story because I refuse to allow any company to dictate where I can and cannot go.

Classflow sponsored an event for teachers where the event focused on Educators and not product. I respect that wholeheartedly.

I’m not “business illiterate” and I get that the product was there & in full view of selling itself. However, at the end of the day…there was a stage. There was a space and I stepped into it. I would do it over again.

That 5 minute speech doesn’t define me and neither does any edtech brand…period.

However, that 5 minute speech earned me full travel to ISTE…a trip that I would have been covering from my own pocket.

(I’m a single mother with a kid in college…building a house. Do the math)

Call me an opportunist if you will.

In my opinion, I’m just SMART.

2 Responses to When Brand Advocacy Gets in the Way

  1. This is a place where the corporatization of education hurts. You are working with an educator ethos: doing what you do, learning what you can, all in the service of children.

    You should not be beholden to the whims of a company. The fact that they can’t see that deeply offends.

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